Courgette-topped baked pilaf

Courgette-topped baked pilaf

How to Cook Healthily
Issy Croker

This is a bit of a special dish. It is based on something I once ate at a vegetarian restaurant in Cyprus, to which I’ve added my own slant. The combination of courgette (zucchini) and cinnamon is really quite magical in this type of cuisine.


Quantity Ingredient
olive oil, for cooking
3-4 large courgettes, cut lengthways into 5mm slices
1 red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
150g short-grain brown rice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 dried apricots, diced
3 tablespoons cashew nuts
500ml vegetable stock
3 handfuls baby spinach
sea salt
black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C
  2. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and fry the long courgette (zucchini) slices until soft and completely malleable. Season well and set aside.
  3. Heat a little oil in a separate pan, add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft. Add the rice, cinnamon, apricots, cashews and half the vegetable stock, and allow to simmer until the rice is cooked. Keep topping up with stock if it begins to dry out before the rice is cooked. Just before the rice is cooked, add the spinach and allow to wilt. You want it to cook to the point where the rice is soft and fully cooked, but there is no noticeable liquid left in the pan.
  4. Use the cooked courgette slices to line the base and sides of a small, round baking or casserole dish, so that the slices overhang the edge of the dish. Spoon the rice mixture into the courgette-lined dish, press down to pack it in, and fold any overhanging courgette slices back over the top to cover.
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes, then remove from the oven. Place a tray over the top of the dish, and flip it over. Gently pull the dish off and slice like a cake to serve.


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